Disclaimer: We have not done this, but know a lot of people do. We are simply sharing tips. We would be the type to look so nervous about such a small thing it’s laughable. If you are caught, the alcohol will be disposed of, and worst case you may be denied boarding.
Many cruise lines will allow you to bring a little alcohol with you on your cruise–usually a bottle or two of wine or a case of beer–either for free or for a fee. However, some cruise ships prohibit passengers from bringing their own alcohol, and the consequences for trying to sneak alcohol onto a cruise can be steep if you’re caught.
Of course, it makes sense that cruises want their passengers to be spending money on drinks in the bars onboard, but if you aren’t taking an all-inclusive cruise, the cost of drinks (along with everything else) can add up quickly during long days spent at sea.
That’s why, despite the regulations that cruise ships have in place, many passengers sneak their own alcohol on board to keep in their room. While this is against the rules, once you get your alcohol safely into your room, it’s likely to go unnoticed unless you overindulge and draw attention to yourself.
However, if you want to sneak alcohol on a cruise, it’s not as simple as hiding bottles in your bags. Checked and carry-on bags are scanned by port staff in the same way that bags are screened before boarding a plane, and if port staff see a suspiciously shaped bottle or can in the scanner, they will spot-search your bags.
Luckily, you have a few options if you want to sneak alcohol onto a cruise. Read on to learn how to sneak alcohol on a cruise with some genius hacks and innovative new products.
No rule dictates the size of bottle or container you are allowed to bring onboard a cruise ship, so if you want to sneak alcohol onto your cruise, the most obvious way would be to pour it into a shampoo or mouthwash bottle.
If you want to use a mouthwash bottle to sneak alcohol onto a cruise, don’t use the 1-liter bottle. Mouthwash bottles have been the chosen method of sneaking alcohol onto cruise ships for so long that security staff might be tempted to open it up if they see it in your bag. Also, keep in mind that shampoo, conditioner, and body wash bottles will ruin your alcohol if they aren’t cleaned properly beforehand.
A wide range of air-tight, smell-proof flasks designed as fake toiletry bottles is available on Amazon that can help you sneak alcohol on a cruise ship undetected. Tampon flasks are another clever easy way to sneak alcohol onto a cruise.
Pack Multiple Bags
Cruise ships that allow passengers to take alcohol on board usually have a policy of one bottle per person, so one easy way to sneak alcohol on a cruise is to pack multiple bags and put one bottle in each bag.
For example, if you are traveling as a couple, pack a suitcase each instead of just one and put a bottle in each suitcase. If you each have your own carry-on bag as well, that’s 4 bottles you can bring on board.
If your cruise line’s alcohol policy only includes wine, you could hide liquor in a wine bottle. Be sure to properly reseal the bottle in case your luggage is inspected.
Carry-on and checked baggage is rarely searched together, so port staff scanning your bags are unlikely to notice. Plus, you will each be able to bring more alcohol back on board in your carry-on during stops.
Rum runners are rubber flasks that can be used to sneak alcohol onto a cruise. You can order rum runners in packs of around 5 assorted sizes. They are spill-proof and flexible and can easily be packed in your checked bag or carry-on.
Since rum runners aren’t bottle or can-shaped, they are likely to go undetected through the x-ray scanner. Keep in mind, however, that liquids show up darker when they pass through the scanner, so you will want to be mindful of how you pack them. Wrapped in foil tucked in on their side is the best way to avoid getting caught.
Cleverly Designed Flasks
Nowadays, you can hide alcohol virtually anywhere using a flask designed to look like anything. These binocular flasks are an especially unsuspecting choice if you’re trying to sneak alcohol on a cruise.
What Happens If You Get Caught?
Cruise lines that have strict policies about bringing alcohol onboard can hand out some hefty fines if you’re caught sneaking alcohol.
If alcohol is spotted in the scanner during boarding, you may be denied entry to the ship, but the more likely scenario is that you will have your alcohol confiscated. You may or may not get it back when you disembark.
If you are caught after you’ve already set sail, you will have your alcohol confiscated and you may receive a fine. Cruise guidelines often include a line that informs passengers that they may be denied boarding or required to disembark if they are caught in violation of any policy, but this is rarely carried out against cruisers who have snuck alcohol onboard.
However, if you are a minor or are caught supplying alcohol to a minor, the repercussions are likely to be worse.
Choosing a cruise with a satisfactory alcohol policy is the best way to avoid any trouble. Work with one of our cruise travel agents to help find the cruise that’s right for you.
He is an expert travel advisor and enthusiast. He has traveled extensively in the USA, Central America, South America, and Europe. He has visited every Sandals Resort and is one of a select few Diamond Elite members of the Sandals Chairman’s Royal Club.
Dan graduated from Johnson & Wales University with an associate degree in Culinary Arts. Later he graduated from the University of Utah with a bachelor’s degree in International Studies with a focus on people and culture.